Tuesday, September 22, 2015

First week in Sandton!

Wow, okay, I have a lot to write about this week haha. It was pretty hectic.

So the area I'm in is Randburg, and it's completely different from my past areas. It's a town, so people have money, and I mean a lot of money. We cover this little city called Sandton. I’ll send a picture.  It's one of the nicest cities I've ever been in and is super clean.  In the middle of the city is a six story mall.  Driving around all I see are Porches and BMW’s, so it's a pretty new environment. The majority of the ward is white, but there are also a lot of blacks and Indians. So it's been an adjustment, because I have no idea how to act around white people haha. I go to their house and I'm just like a baby giraffe because I don't even know what to do but I'm getting used to them. The other night we went to a black family and it was much more chill, and I felt like I was at home haha.  I'll get used to the mulungu’s.

My companion is Elder Souza, and he's from Brazil.  We were talking before transfers about how I was going to go to his area, and then it happened! So it's pretty sick.

The area is not as easy as a township in regards to missionary work. You can't really tract here because people have big gates with dogs and electric fences, and there's a lot of nice apartment complexes that you can't get into, so mostly we have to work through the members and get referrals. For finding we just do street contacting but we're in a car, so we plan in advance for when to do that. The car I'm in is an automatic, which was super weird at first because I've been driving a manual for 6 months. 

We also did a lot of service this week. On Wednesday ten of us went to the temple for it’s 30 year anniversary because they invited a lot of officials from other churches to the temple grounds for lunch and presentations so they can learn more about our religion. So some of us served food and others (me) helped with the cars and directing people where to go. So that was unique.

On Friday we went to a homeless center in a nearby township and helped some ward members there. It was sort of like a soup kitchen. The members who are there are super sweet.  It was the Bishop and the ward mission leaders' wives. At first they just wanted to feed the homeless, but now they're starting an addiction recovery class for the people who are addicted to Nyaope (a super addictive drug--it's like crack but worse.  People who are on it get so addicted they sell everything they have and then are left homeless, so it's pretty terrible). It made me like the members who are helping them a lot, so hopefully we'll be able to go this week as well! 

On Friday night a crazy thing happened.  Basically our door to our flat broke, so we couldn't get inside so we went and slept over at the zone leader's flat, which was pretty tight haha. And then Saturday we played rugby in the morning with members, and then helped another member move, and the locksmith didn't come until like 4:30 so that's when we finally showered. But it was still a nice day! 

Sunday was the best though. . . it usually is. I've previously been in clusters or branches so it hasn't been to hard for me to get to know all the members, but now I'm in a full-functioning ward with hundreds of members, so I was a little worried about it. I prayed that I would be able to get to know them somehow, or they would get to know me. So we were sitting in church at 8:50 and the Bishop asked if I could introduce myself and give a short testimony.  Then, like 5 minutes later his counselor asked me if I could also give a talk since the first speaker bailed, so I was like "Yeah, okay. " I gave a 5 minute talk on prayer, and it wasn't until afterwards that I realized my prayer had been answered, because it was a way for all of the members to get to know me a little better. So it was pretty cool.

At church there was a new lady (we only have a few investigators, less than 10 altogether, which is still really fortunate for an area like this) and she's a friend of a lady named Sister Lee. Sister Lee and her husband are in their 20's and they're both returned missionaries, so they're the perfect fellowshippers for this new girl, Jade. We set up a time to see Sister Lee and Jade at Lee's house, and then our 7 o'clock cancelled last night so we asked if we could go visit them. We were talking to Jade and she had a lot of questions, and they were textbook questions like “How can I know that God is there?" and “Where do I go when I die?" so it was a super cool lesson. I mean there were 4 missionaries in there, so how could it not be dope! We just did how to begin teaching and talked and ate ice cream, and we're really excited to see Jade again. I'm super lucky that my first week here we got an awesome new investigator!

So yeah, that's it. As I said, I'm once again a greenie, because it's so different here than anything else I've experienced.  It’s like I have to relearn how to be a missionary haha, but it's good. I'm really loving this area. A great first week.

Thanks for everything.  Talk to you all later!

Elder Stephen

Some pictures of an indoor pool and rock climbing wall inside of a wealthy member's home!

Elders Mamhere, Widdison, Carter, Malunga, Brown, Souza, Savage, Derera, Todd and Henderson.

On September 15, 2015 the  South Africa Johannesburg Temple was dedicated. Now 30 years later, there is a Celebration! On this special day, the Johannesburg Zone was invited to help with the event. Over 100 people were invited to a special luncheon to commemorate and celebrate this occasion. Local business, government, and religious leaders form all over Johannesburg were invited to attend. Tours of the temple grounds, foyer and gate room were offered before the lunch. 

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